House Passes Bill That Uses Former Extremists’ Testimony to Counter Violent Extremism

Melanie Arter | April 27, 2016 | 3:05pm EDT
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ISIS (AP Photo)

( - In a vote of 322 to 79, the House passed a bill Tuesday that seeks to counter violent extremism from groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) using the testimony of former extremists.

All 79 votes were from Democrats who said the bill doesn’t address violence from white supremacists, militia groups, and other groups that have killed more Americans recently than foreign terrorists, the Associated Press reported.

“Terrorists are radicalizing our citizens online and across borders, which is why we need this legislation," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said.

McCaul said ISIS is sending out propaganda everyday, and this bill will provide a counter narrative.

“The fact is overseas we try to do this. We do nothing in the homeland to stop this radicalization within. So for instance, taking testimonials of a Virginia man who was picked up by the Peshmerga. He said, this is a really bad experience. This is the most effective way I think to counter the narrative that ISIS, they’re sending everyday over the Internet through propaganda,” McCaul told Fox News Tuesday.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), chief sponsor of the bill, said it will prevent future attacks like the one at a Chattanooga reserve center in 2015, which killed four Marines and a sailor. The killer was inspired by foreign terrorists, according to the FBI.

"Foreign terrorists are using technology to radicalize Americans at a troubling pace that continues to increase," Fleischmann said. He noted that hundreds of Americans have traveled or tried to travel to fight with ISIS.

"ISIS is luring Americans with empty and false promises that do not reflect reality on the ground in Iraq," he said.

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